Jean Gray poses for a photo at the Ireland Dinner in Woulfe Alumni Hall in the Anderson Student Center on November 14, 2018 in St. Paul.

In Our Prayers: Jean Gray '51

Please remember in your prayers Jean Gray '51, who passed away on Jan. 11, 2022. Gray was a beloved alumnus and longtime benefactor of the University of St. Thomas.

Gray graduated from St. Thomas in 1951 with a degree in political science. He was an active member of the ROTC program during his four years at St. Thomas, and went on to serve two years in the Air Force as a second lieutenant. Following his service, he became a special agent in the FBI, where he worked for 30 years.

Monsignor James Lavin Award winner Jean Gray '51 poses for a photo with President Julie Sullivan during the St. Thomas Day Celebration in James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall on May 3, 2017. (Joseph Lavigne/University of St. Thomas)

Following his career in the FBI, Gray became a prominent figure at St. Thomas. His involvement began through his friendship with former St. Thomas president Monsignor Terrence Murphy, who enlisted his help with establishing a St. Thomas alumni association on the East Coast. From there, Gray served on the joint board of the Saint John Vianney College Seminary and The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity as well as on the board for the Center for Catholic Studies.

"Jean Gray was a great friend to St. Thomas and especially to Catholic Studies," Michael Naughton, director of the Center for Catholic Studies, said. "As a founding member of our Advisory Board, Jean gave generously of his time and resources. In particular, he had a special relationship with our Latino Scholars providing scholarships and mentoring to students. We will miss Jean’s beautiful witness to the faith and his warm personality."

In 1998, St. Thomas awarded Gray the Humanitarian Award. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Monsignor James Lavin Award, which honors a St. Thomas alumnus for outstanding contributions and service to the St. Thomas Alumni Association. Gray was an active participant in alumni events both locally and internationally. He was also a generous benefactor to the university, as he funded numerous scholarships, including his own named scholarship.

"I had the pleasure of traveling with Jean to various parts of the world, including twice to Uganda in recent years. He was a man of quiet faith and a deeply rooted humanitarianism," President Emeritus Father Dennis Dease said. "He never missed an opportunity to try to make some small part of the world a little bit better, and in so doing, I think he actually changed the whole equation."

The service will be at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Excelsior on Friday, Jan. 21. Visitation will be at 10:30 a.m. The service will be at noon. A livestream option of the Mass will be available.